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Do Solar Pool Covers Work?

Ashwini Kulkarni Sule Nov 8, 2018
This is the question that haunts the minds of many pool owners. The answer to this question depends upon the amount of sunlight your pool receives.
You can truly enjoy the pleasure of swimming, only if the water is warm and inviting. Heating your pool becomes a must, if you are living in a cold region. However, the cost of heating using an electric heater or a gas heater is exorbitant.
Moreover, the pool water often loses the heat and thus, has to be heated again and again. This accounts for an additional cost. A good solution to this problem would be to invest in solar pool covers, that are commonly called solar blankets.

How Do They Work

Solar covers are giant plastic sheets, which float freely on water. They are tinted blue, and have several air pouches on their surface. These air pouches resemble the bubble packing material. The thickness of these air pouches is about 8 to 12 mm.
Their working mechanism is simple. During the day, the air pouches capture the heat of sunlight, and transfer it to the water. The heat exchange easily takes place between cold pool water and the warm solar cover.
While at night, the situation is completely reverse, the cover becomes cooler while the water inside is still warm. However, its peculiar structure prevents the loss of heat, by trapping and retaining the heat in water. This reduces the loss of heat which takes place due to condensation at night.

When Do They Work

The effectiveness of the solar pool covers is directly proportional to the intensity of sunlight, and the time for which you receive it. If you get good sunlight for about 5 hours a day, you will be able to heat your water by about 1°C. Thus, within a week, you will be able to increase the swimming pool water temperature by about 10°C.
Moreover, since there won't be any heat loss, you will be able to retain the warmth of the water. However, you will need to cover the pool with a solar blanket whenever it's not in use for swimming.
Thus, it works only when you have enough sunlight to heat the blanket, and you restrict the use of the pool, so that heat loss is not too much.


Solar pool covers reduce the cost of heating water by about 50%. However, in spite of this, they are not very popular. The reason is that, they work only in areas with ample sunlight, the areas which do not receive good sunlight hardly benefit from them.
Moreover, due to their huge size, getting them on and off water is a big hassle. Folding these sheets is an additional chore to the pool owners, which they would surely like to give a miss. So, people wary of folding and storing these solar blankets are ready to pay extra for heating.
Now that you know exactly when and how solar pool covers work, you can consider getting one, if you have suitable conditions. However, irrespective of whether or not they heat your water, you can still consider getting them. They prevent the pool chemicals from evaporating, and also keep your pool clean by not letting any debris in.